Rothko Via Muncie, Indiana

The 1980s. Beginning of the long decade, the century’s
late works. Snow on the grid, field bisected
by a late model John Deere’s progress in low gear
with a front-end load of straw bales. Its operator’s daughter
dons her brace, thinks her scoliosis the devil’s work
on her, a not-good-enough Christian. Her mother talks
scripture on the phone in the kitchen and the kitchen
smells of coffee and it smells of dog. Christmas lights

strung along the eaves of bungalows, vehicles moored
to bungalows by their block heater cords. Rumours
of drunkenness and corruption sunk the Democrat’s bid
for mayor: For we favour the simple expression of the complex
thought. The large shape’s impact of the unequivocal. Flat
forms that destroy illusion, reveal truth. Now the union’s eye
has twilight in it, and the city dump will stay where it is.
Evening falls, or rises, or emanates from the figures.
The SportsPlex and Model Aviation Museum, the Muncie
Mall and both quadrangles of Ball State University
shed their associations, perform an unknown adventure
in unknown space. Halogens illuminate an anecdote
of the spirit. You won’t see his face around here again.
The violet quarry hosts a greater darkness further in,
the White River sleeps in its cabin of pack ice.
Among the graduating class an abstract feeling develops,

an inclination to symbolism born of the fatal car wreck on
New Year’s, a spike in requests for Bob Seger
to the call-ins from a quasi-religious experience of limitless
immensity. To achieve this clarity is inevitably
to be misunderstood. Their lives take on the dimensions
of the fields, the city, its facades and its plan, whose happiness
will be their own. Rent, food budget, sweaters
indoors. Basketball, basketball, and a second marriage.

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